Sweet Potato Bacon Mac N' Cheese- by Kelda Baljon

In the process of weaning myself off of following recipes, I’ve been thinking a lot about flavor combinations. Last week I was staring into my fridge, wondering what I was going to make for dinner when I remembered I had just bought some bacon. Yes, sometimes it is okay to shape your entire meal around bacon. You can accuse me of stress eating, but the first thing I thought after bacon was Mac ‘n’ cheese. (Hey, finals week was stressful!) In an attempt to salvage this meal from becoming a heart attack in a bowl, I spotted asparagus and onions and knew they’d fit well. And spoiler alert: there’s no cheese in this recipe. Surprisingly enough, mashed sweet potato and nutritional yeast come together to form a creamy sauce that’s fresher, more flavorful and certainly healthier than your average cheese sauce. 

Medium

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients:
6-7 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (not the same as regular yeast!)
1 ½ cups plain milk (any kind- 2%, almond, soy, etc.)
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, about 1 cup mashed
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ onion, chopped
4-5 pieces of bacon, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
8 oz. pasta

Directions:
1. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water (until it reaches about two inches from the top) and bring to a boil.
2. While water is heating up, peel and chop sweet potatoes into cubes.

Photo by Kelda Baljon

Photo by Kelda Baljon

3. Once water is boiling, add sweet potato chunks.

Photo by Kelda Baljon

Photo by Kelda Baljon

4. Cook sweet potato for about 20 minutes, or until tender. When the sweet potatoes are done, mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth.

Photo by Kelda Baljon

Photo by Kelda Baljon

5. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, sauté chopped bacon in a large pan until crispy.
6. Using a spatula or spoon, move bacon pieces to a plate covered with a paper towels to absorb the grease. Do not drain bacon grease from the pan, and keep the burner on.

Photo by Kelda Baljon

Photo by Kelda Baljon

7. Sauté chopped asparagus, onion and garlic in pan with the bacon grease. Cook until onions are tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Photo by Kelda Baljon

Photo by Kelda Baljon

8. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 4-6 cups of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
9. In a large bowl, combine nutritional yeast, milk, lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes until smooth.
10. When pasta is cooked, strain water and transfer pasta to the large bowl with the sauce.

Photo by Kelda Baljon

Photo by Kelda Baljon

11. Add sautéed veggies, toss and serve.

Photo by Kelda Baljon

Photo by Kelda Baljon

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